Monday Grid Update, 4/4

Houston Nutt wants more contact, but the rising numbers of injuries may force his hand the rest of spring drills. Here's Monday's update, the sixth day of 15 the Hogs will work this spring.

Players accused of loafing in practice will no longer wear pink jerseys, said head coach Houston Nutt. But guests at the workout will still be able to identify the players giving a paltry effort. They will be wearing burnt orange jerseys.

"We had 'em in burnt orange today, but maybe another day it will be yellow," Nutt said. "But no more pink. I had some calls and some letters from cancer survivors. They were offended since pink is the national color for their cause. I sure didn't mean to offend any of those people and we want wear pink anymore. We hope no one took it that way that we would do anything like that on purpose. I hadn't even thought of that possibility."

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring doesn't care what color they wear as long as the loafs begin to disappear from the UA defense. He wasn't happy with the practice Monday.

"We layed an egg today," Herring said. "Emotionally, it was a disappointing day. No one pushed themselves and no one pushed their teammates. We didn't have any leadership. Spring is so valuable. We don't have many days and to waste one is bad. We have to regroup and come back strong on Tuesday. We had no effort and no emotion today."

That came after the Hogs had back-to-back practices with very few loafs on Friday and Saturday, according to Herring.

"We were a buzz saw on Friday and after grading the film (from Saturday's) scrimmage, it got better. We were no where near where we have to be in the fall, but we were making progress. We got better from the first day to the fifth day. But today we slipped back.

"In our scrimmage Saturday, I thought we tackled better. W were physical and we tried to swarm the ball. We made a lot of mistakes, but we had effort. I think we were getting better every day until today. We still aren't consistent and we still lack depth, but we were making progress."

Nutt liked what he saw of the scrimmage, too. He said the thin nature of the offensive line bothered him and may cause him to cut back on some of the plans for more scrimmages during the week.

"We may still have a little more middle drill during the week and probably do some goal line work, but as far as having another midweek scrimmage like last week, I don't know," Nutt said. "When you look over on the sideline and see guys like Zac Tubbs, Cody Green, Jonathan Luigs and Tony Ugoh gone, then you know you don't have enough big bodies in the offensive line. We don't have much depth there to scrimmage and get the right look."

The defensive line has a thin look, too. Michael Tate took a blow to his knee cap before the scrimmage began Friday and will miss a few days. Fred Bledsoe sustained a concussion when he hit the back of his head on the ground late in the scrimmage. He spent Saturday night in a hospital. He did not practice Monday. Offensive guard Chase Pressley sustained a concussion during a hitting session in Monday's drill. Presley was knocked out in Monday's workout.

"I think Fred is going to be okay, but he's going to miss some work," Nutt said. "We probably lost Chase for a few days, too. We are just getting short on bodies. Both Fred and Chase were doing well. Fred had 43 snaps on Saturday in the scrimmage and did very well. He's coming on, I think."

Line coach Tracy Rocker was pleased with Bledsoe's progress.

"Fred is still too heavy, but he's making plays and making progress," Rocker said. "He's getting there. He still isn't in good enough shape. He'll play five plays hard and then take the sixth off. You'd like him to keep playing the same way. So we just have to take him out and rest him. But you see the strides he is making and the shape he's in."

Nutt praised walkon tight end Lance Thompson for impressive play in the scrimmage. Because of depth problems, Thompson moved to offensive tackle late in the scrimmage, donning a yellow shield jersey since he was wearing a backs number.

"That caused some confusion with the defense because they weren't sure if he was a tackle or a tight end," Nutt said. "I can understand why they had alignment problems on the plays Lance was out there.

"I like what Lance has done. He's shown some courage. He's playing tight end and tackle. We should give him the courage award for the spring so far. He played both spots again today and was busy."

Starting tight end Jared Hicks hasn't been able to practice with lingering problems from a shoulder injury sustained last fall.

"We'd like to have Jared get some work at tight end," Nutt said. "Really, he didn't practice at all last fall, just played in games. He needs to practice. He needs to work on his blocking, but Dean (Weber, UA trainer) think he needs to sit out.

"That leaves us with a good battle between Mason Templeton, Wes Murphy, Marc Winston and Lance Thompson. Really, Wes has done some good things. We are pleased with him. He still needs to work on catching it, but he is blocking well and playing hard. Mason is playing well. Marc can really catch it. He needs to be a little better at the point of attack, but he's working on it. He's gained some weight, but he still needs more strength. But he has the ability to play that position and is coming on. All of them are working hard."

All but the first 15 minutes of Monday's workout was closed to the media.

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